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The PT Boat Forum ª PT Boats of WWII ª  PT Boats - General

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 Author  Topic: Question on PT Rank: "Seaman"
Mike Montana

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Mike Montana  Posted on: Dec 10, 2006 - 10:03pm
What were the general duties for a PT "Seaman" ? Was that just another name for "Cook" ? And, Earl, thanks for you commentary defending the cooks - that was a fun read.


"Self doubt clips the wings of Hope"

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Dec 11, 2006 - 9:16am
hi mike just for the record i was a ships cook 3rd class petty officer when i was assigned to the boats. when i shipped back to the states my rank was ships cook 2nd class petty officer and was working to achieve 1st class. the end of the war stopped that.and was sort of fun writing the story.
"seaman" was the rank before 3rd class petty officer and i think they were assigned duties in assisting engineers,gunners mates.not quite sure about this.correct me if i am wrong.

earl richmond

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CJ Willis

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Dec 11, 2006 - 12:29pm
Hello Mike: I was a Seaman 1st Class in October 1943 when first joining the crew of P.T 242. I had been to 12 weeks Torpedo school in Keyport, WA and was stricking for Torpedoman 3rd Class. I was assigned the port twin 50 turret gun so was actually a gunner my entire 13 month aboard 242. My duties as a Seaman was first of all to keep my guns clean, barrels changed, ammunition boxes full and sometimes belt my 50 caliber ammunition. When on patrol was on lookout duty with binoculars from my turret position. At general quarters I fired my twin 50's. When in port after all guns were cleaned etc. I assisted the 1st Class Torpedoman, John Grace, with the scheduled maintenance of the 4 torpedoes, depth charges's and smoke generator. Originally we had Mark 8's but later Mark 13's. Seamans duties also included keeping the boat clean - scrubbing the deck - cleaning the bilges - cleaning and straightening up the crews quarters and the lazzerette. Also helped with loading aboard supplies and kept he water barrel full for bathing and shaving. We also maintained all the tie up ropes. The Engineers maintained the engine room, engines, and auxillary generator. When in port and after refueling we put up tarps over the bow - unfolded our cots and tried to sleep in the hot humid weather of the Solomons. Sleep wasa a rare commodity when patroling every night or every other night. In about 6 months I took a test and was made Torpedoman 3rd Class however my duties on board never changed. We had a great crew and all were willing to help with anything that was needed to be done. We also had two good officers that took care of us as best they could. Mike I hope this will give you some idea of a Seamans duties.

C. J. Willis

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Dec 12, 2006 - 5:59am

earl richmond

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  Jerry Gilmartin


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jerry Gilmartin   Send Email To Jerry Gilmartin Posted on: Dec 12, 2006 - 8:23am
Hi Mike,
From reading your question, I gathered possibly you did not know this is still a rank system in the Navy, and it still is organized pretty much the same way as it was in WW2. If you already know this stuff, I apologize in advance to explaining it to you. The E1 to E3 rates can be one of four different families, Airman, Seaman, Fireman, or Seabee (not sure on that last one it may not have been around during PT Boat days) and then either Recruit, Apprentice or Standard. So an E1 could be a Seaman Recruit or a Fireman Recruit or an Airman Recruit. An E2 can be an Airman Apprentice or a Fireman Apprentice or a Seaman Apprentice. Get it so far? Then an E3 is just a straight Seaman, Airman, Fireman or Seabee. Their specialty grouping designates them as trying out for one of the broad divisions of the Navy's Petty Officer Ratings, such as a Fireman would be trying out to become (Striking for) a Machinists's Mate Petty Officer 3rd Class, or a Hull Technician 3rd Class, or any other Engineering type job. Meanwhile, a Seaman is usually trying out for Deck ratings such as Boatswains Mate Third Class, or Signalman 3/c, or Gunner's Mate 3/c, Quartermaster 3/c or Torpedoman 3/c . Airman are trying out for Aircraft Ratings etc etc. So your question about are all Seaman just another name for cook is possibly correct, but a Seaman (E-3) can Strike for any of the jobs on the ship that interest him and are available. The choice is somewhat up to the Officer or Petty Officer in charge, based on the needs of the ship. In the meantime, the lower ranking crewman, (consisting of Seaman etc) tend to get assigned all of the jobs that the senior enlisted ratings dont have time to do. I know that Ships Cook was a pretty important one, and some Seaman did indeed get assigned as a Cook, but then more advanced training would eventually be available, such as Mess Specialists School. The PT Boats I imagine were manned with several E-1 to E-3 crewman, and then they were advanced in rate depending upon their boat. Just wanted to clear up this possible misconception about the USN enlisted rank system. I have to explain this since I cant bear to have somebody not understand, me being a CPO and all. MMC(SW) Jerry Gilmartin PT658 Restoration Crew

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